Dickcissel (Spiza americana), Ithaca, NY, 18 November 2003.
All pictures are © Kevin and Jay McGowan.
Photos taken with an Olympus D-450 digital camera through a Swarovski AT-60 spotting scope.
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Lisa Wood noticed a Dickcissel coming to her feeders at 204 Culver Road, southwest of Ithaca on 16 November 2003. I went to see it on 18 November and found it in with a flock of House Sparrows, cardinals, House Finches, and other assorted feeder birds (the feeders were active!). The day was dark, and Jay had the good camera, but I got a couple of decent images.
The bird showed quite a lot of yellow on the chest, with a thin stripe continuing down the front of the bird toward the belly. The supercilium (eyebrow) was yellow, and the malar streak was white with yellow in it, bordered medially by a slightly broken black streak. The throat was white. At the top of the chest was a broken horizontal band of black, with a few streaks under it onto the chest. The belly was off white, and the flanks showed thin black streaking. The back was streaked black and brown, with a rufous patch in the upper wing coverts. The face was mostly grayish brown, with the yellow supercilium and malar streak, and whitish crescents present above and below the dark eyes (not really an eyering). The tail was rather short and pointed. The bill was conical, but somewhat long and very pointed. Overall the bird gives a female House Sparrow impression, but it is a bit larger, and of course shows yellow on the chest.
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